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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


UCM Honors MNEA’s 'True Friend of Education' David Pearce

Contact Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (May 23, 2012) – Members of the University of Central Missouri on Monday, May 21, congratulated State Senator David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, for receiving the top award from the Missouri National Education Association recognizing contributions and support for education.

Pearce, a UCM alumnus and longtime supporter of the university, was recently named recipient of MNEA’s Horace Mann Friend of Education Award. In recognition of his achievement, the UCM Faculty Senate and President Charles Ambrose jointly hosted the reception for Pearce, which was attended by members of the campus community.

Pearce reception

Second from right, state Senator David Pearce, R-Missouri, visits with University of Central Missouri members during a reception on campus honoring him as recipient of the Missouri National Education Association’s Horace Mann Friend of Education Award. With him are, from left, Gersham Nelson, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Charles Ambrose, UCM president; and  Cheryl Riley, Faculty Senate president.

According to the MNEA, the award is presented annually to a legislator who is an elected federal or state official who has worked for the passage of important educational legislation. It recognizes a “true friend of education” who has provided professional leadership and praise-worthy efforts to uphold high standards of excellence.

Faculty Senate President Cheryl Riley told the gathering that campus MNEA members who supported  Pearce’s nomination for the award noted that “he is the best defense in Missouri against extreme legislation that is bad for education. What’s important about Senator Pearce is that he works to protect all levels of education. He doesn’t just look at K-12 and he doesn’t just look at higher education. He’s out there protecting K-20 education.”

Pearce, who serves as chair of the Senate Education Committee, thanked those who supported the award. He noted, “It does mean a lot to get this award from MNEA because MNEA represents so many public schools and colleges in the state of Missouri that care about the future of education in Missouri.”

President Ambrose spoke about important contributions Pearce has made this year to higher education, including efforts which will help colleges and universities avoid steep reductions in state appropriations for Fiscal Year 2013.  Pearce’s many efforts to benefit students pursuing a higher education include sponsorship of Senate Bill 455, which was recently passed by the General Assembly. It requires the creation of a library of at least 25 core courses that would be transferable between two- and four-year institutions, and would meet general education requirements in areas such as English, math, and science. The measure calls for development of a policy to encourage reverse transfer, allowing students who have garnered enough hours to transfer from a four-year school to a two-year school in pursuit of a degree. Additionally, in order to help increase student retention, it encourages development of policies for all two- and four-year institutions to replicate the nation’s best practices in remediation.

Otto Fajen, MNEA legislative director, said Senator Pearce is someone people look to help them decide on important legislative issues.

“He’s the kind of person who brings a lot of votes along because a lot of folks know that’s the person whose lead I should follow,” he noted.

The MNEA Horace Mann Friend of Education Award program is co-sponsored by the Horace Mann Insurance Companies. In addition to recognizing a legislator, Horace Mann Awards also are presented in categories that include: journalism (print, radio and/or television); organization (corporate and/or civic); individual contribution to education; teacher; and education support professional.